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Updates in the Trayvon Martin Case

Here are a few updates in the Trayvon Martin case:

• You may know by now about the new surveillance video showing George Zimmerman, the assailant, after the incident. Contrary to the reports of his lawyer and his close friend, Zimmerman shows no sign of a struggle, no blood, no bruises. There is a scar on his head, but it would take more than fifteen minutes for such a scar to form.

• An anonymous witness in the case appeared on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show last night, and corroborated the story that Martin was not banging Zimmerman’s head into the pavement. To the contrary, Zimmerman was straddling the unarmed teen.

A separate witness appeared on Dateline NBC with a similar story.

According to Mary Cutcher on Dateline NBC, she and her roommate both saw Zimmerman “straddling the body, basically a foot on both sides of Trayvon’s body, and his hands pressed on his back.”

Mary Cutcher told Dateline NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview:

“It sounded young. It didn’t sound like a grown man is my point. It sounded to me like someone was in distress and it wasn’t like a crying, sobbing boo-hoo, it was a definite whine.”

Cutcher added that Zimmerman told her and her roommate to call the police. “Zimmerman never turned him over or tried to help him or CPR or anything,” Cutcher said.

I should say at this point that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. All sorts of variables come into play. The best evidence we have that there was no major struggle comes from that surveillance video of Zimmerman shortly after the incident. Zimmerman’s lawyer has gone silent when queried about that video.

• The Department of Justice now plans to investigate the Sanford Police Department and their history of racial trouble, in addition to investigating the Martin case itself:

“The citizens of Sanford will continue to have some idea that their concerns would be heard by an independent agency when they have issues with the Sanford Police Department,” said Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte.

Bonaparte announced the new investigation Tuesday afternoon after receiving numerous complaints about the way officers handled other cases.

He said that so many people complained at Monday night’s city commission meeting about Sanford officers, the city asked the Department of Justice to step in.

“I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard and investigated by an independent agency,” Bonaparte said.

Clearly this case has brought to light what every racial minority in Sanford already knew.

• Protests and solidarity actions continue. In addition to Rep. Bobby Rush donning a hoodie on the House floor, a collection of California state lawmakers from the black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander legislative caucuses donned hoodies as well. That included Asm. Steven Bradford, who after redistricting will become my state Assemblyman.

“I know thousands of Trayvon Martins,” said Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). “I know thousands of African American and Latino young men and boys who are victimized every day in America simply because of the color of their skin.”

Thank you, Asm. Bradford.

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David Dayen

David Dayen